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High Winds Can Damage Your Chimney

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We’ve been having some “severe” weather as there calling it these days in Houston. Just last Saturday, ABC13 reported that high winds damaged several homes in far southeast Houston, ripping off the wall on one home and part of a roof was sucked off another.

Shingles were ripped off roofs, tree limbs were knocked down, windows broken and outdoor belongings tossed away. The National Weather Service said a brief tornado may have touched down in Baytown during the overnight. Thankfully no one got hurt.

But if you awoke to find masonry chimney bricks or sheets of metal scattered all over your driveway then your chimney bore the brunt of the heavy winds. And don’t start a fire before having your masonry or manufactured chimney inspected by professional chimney sweep Storm damage from tornadoes, lightning, hail, microburst, hurricanes, or high winds can knock bricks loose but can also leave less visible damages to your chimney.

While chimneys are very durable and should last for a long time, they are exposed to the elements rain, wind and snow which weaken their structures. The freeze and thaw of winter erodes the bricks and mortar due to water that sits in cracks.

  • Strong winds have been known to topple a chimney, but strong winds can cause even more damage to a chimney that’s already in poor condition since they speed up the erosion process.
  • Heavy rains make enter uncapped chimneys and then the home. The water can impact the fireplace below and also well up in the interior of the chimney and the walls of your home causing wood to rot.
  • Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your chimney over time by allowing winter to accumulate in the chimney structure and eventually enter the home.
  • Lightning strikes have a tendency to impact the chimney first because chimneys are higher than the roof. Lightning can cause bricks or stone to come loose weakening the overall structure.

In many cases the exterior doesn’t reveal the extent of the interior damages caused by a a lightning strike that is not visible from the exterior.  Hail can impact the exterior brick but also can damage chimney covers and caps.  In extreme cases of a microburst or tornado the chimney might have to be torn down and rebuilt because it can be lifted from the roof.

Any sections of a manufactured chimney including damage to the cover, metal chase top, wood chase, metal chimney, and fireplace should be replaced. Metal chimneys can really feel the effects of a lighting strike or high wind because they are made of metal..

While there isn’t very much that you can do to prevent the weather from impacting your exposed chimney inspecting and repairing your chimney if its structure has weakened will allow it to withstand the effects of the weather.

At American Fireplace we have a lot of experience inspecting and repairing damaged chimneys and fireplaces. Our fully bonded technicians will provide a full inspection and if need be help you complete a report for your insurance company. We sympathize with your situation and we’ll do our best to get fixed as soon as possible.

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